NIWAMO NIKKYO (c. 1906-1999) (Religious Movement)

Founder of Rissho Kosei-kai

Niwano Nikkyo was born in 1906 in a village in Niigata Prefecture, in northern Japan. His large family were farmers and as a child, he was said to have been deeply impressed by his grandfather’s and parents’ kindness to others, which is believed to have instilled in him a love of peace and harmony and of service to others.

The harmony and compassion cultivated in his childhood were reinforced by Buddhism particularly by the Lotus Sutra. Niwano made the Lotus sutra the basis of Rissho Kosei-kai and established as the goal of this movement the bringing of peace to members, their families and communities, nations and the world.

When Niwano left his village in Niigata Prefecture to find work in Tokyo at the age of 17, he began studying and practising various spiritual disciplines such as fortune-telling. He got married to a second cousin in 1930. In 1935 when his second daughter fell ill with a very high fever and lost consciousness, Niwano joined Reiyukai to seek a cure for her illness. After several years in Reiyukai as a missionary, Niwano Nikkyo seceded from Reiyukai and with Naganuma Myoko founded Rissho Kosei-kai in 1938.

Niwano dedicated himself to help free people from suffering and to assist in establishing a peaceful world through the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. Believing that all religions derive from the same source, Niwano met with religious people in various countries for the attainment of world peace through inter-religious dialogue. Niwano served as an honorary president of World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP) and the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) and as chairman of the Board of Directors of Shinshuren, Federation of New Religious Organizations of Japan. He died in 1999 at the age of 92.

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